In an interview with China Daily, James Zimmerman, chairman of the American
Chamber of Commerce China (AmCham-China), talks to Jiang Wei about issues
related to the second round of the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) between
China and the United States.
Q: What does AmCham expect from the SED? What
role will AmCham play in the SED?
A: AmCham-China strongly supports the SED because we recognize that this kind
of high-level, sustained dialogue provides a critical avenue for fostering
mutual understanding and has the potential to yield progress on some of the most
contentious economic issues faced by both the US and China.
Although AmCham-China is not an actual participant in this
government-to-government dialogue, we have been encouraged in all of our
meetings with the US and Chinese governments to share our on-the-ground
perspective on the various SED topics, which have been uniformly welcomed as
constructive and helpful.
In all of our meetings, we emphasize the importance of engagement between
China and the US. We recently took a delegation of 26 AmCham member companies to
Washington to meet with decision-makers in the administration and over 50
members of Congress and their staff and to provide our perspective on China-US
trade and economic issues.
Our key message was the importance and value of ongoing engagement with China
and the need to continue to cultivate what we believe to be the world's most
important economic relationship.
Q: What role will the SED play in the trade and
economy of both countries?
A: The SED provides both countries the opportunity to work collaboratively
and strategically on addressing many of the politically-charged issues that at
times obstruct our countries' path to closer engagement and improved trade.
Many of the issues directly affect our member companies, and since these
issues do not have simple solutions and require extensive discussions, we
recognize that it is in all of our best interests for the SED to be given the
time and resources necessary to succeed.
For example, the first SED focused in part on IPR protection, which AmCham
recognizes goes hand-in-hand with China's desire to make the transition to an
Innovation is critically important for our member companies to remain
globally competitive, and we anticipate that China's push toward an innovative
society will bring about a greater respect for the legal framework that
innovation depends on, namely IPR enforcement.
AmCham sees synergy of opinions and room for understanding and improvement on
this issue, but we also know that this discussion is intricate and will take
time to bring to a mutually-beneficial conclusion.
Q: What problems do you want solved in the
framework of the SED?
A: Each of the working groups that have been set up under the SED covers
topics and problems that are important to solve - important to China, important
to the US, and also important to our member companies. These three working group
topics are promoting transparency, service-sector development, and easing
In addition, it is expected that the SED will tackle such major bilateral
problems as global current account imbalances, capital market reform, China's
growth strategy and exchange-rate policy, trade reform, and energy and the
Although short-term deliverables would be welcomed, we hope that the SED will
be able to bridge some of the disagreement on these crucial issues and bring
lasting reform that benefits our two economies and our relationship in the
Q: As a representative of businesses in China,
what in your opinion should the Chinese government do to improve the economic
and investing environment?
A: Overall, we would like to see the Chinese government continue the economic
reforms that are leading to enhanced rule of law, transparency and a more level
playing field for all businesses operating in China.
AmCham recently released its 2007 White Paper outlining recommendations that
both the US government and the Chinese government could implement to assist US
companies across a number of different industries.
AmCham recognizes the progress that has been made in the protection of
intellectual property rights, but our members feel that greater resources and
attention need to be devoted to bolster IPR enforcement and consumer awareness.
As we talk with our colleagues in Chinese business associations, we find that
our concerns and recommendations are quite similar.
(China Daily 05/23/2007 page2)